Thursday, September 30, 2004

Green Salad with Apples

This is a football player’s blend. Some days are good and some days are bad. Yesterday was so-so. I had already planned for dinner..baked chicken and potato salad. I thought it was a balanced diet..carbs, protein and vegetables. Still, my son looked for vegetables. I wasn’t thinking about preparing any more salad. He looked in the vegetable bin and saw the green lettuce I was saving for sandwiches. He peeled 1 apple and sliced some red onions. He added a few slices of cucumber and tossed all the vegetables in a salad bowl with the extra dressing I had when I made my Green Salad with Papaya. Oh well, not bad. This is good with French Dressing too but I add carrots to it.

Potato Salad

There’s been a dramatic change between the way I make this salad back in the Philippines and here. I used to put ½ bottle of mayonnaise or even more for a measly amount of potatoes back then. Now, I only put about ¼ cup. I also incorporated a lot of uncooked carrots and celery in.

My ingredients for my potato salad

1.5 lbs of new potatoes, washed and boiled and quartered
2 boiled eggs, sliced
3 stalks of chopped celery
1 medium carrot, chopped
¼ red onions, chopped
1/8 cup of chopped green onions
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of honey
dash of black pepper
dash of salt

I combined everything in a salad bowl and I topped it with paprika and garnished it with cilantro. This goes well with baked chicken.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Cabbage Rolls

This is of a Ukrainian (some say Polish, others say Slovenian) background even though I am not one or any of my closest relatives by affinity or consanguinity. This is just something I learned how to cook over the years of eating at the cafeteria in our building. The cook is not a Ukrainian. He is a Chinese married to a Caucasian. The cafeteria changed management since then and the quality of the cabbage rolls served has deteriorated.

Of course I started cooking it for my officemates after that. We stopped completely going to the cafeteria as the current owner has no customer service. Over lunch one day, my officemate who was married to someone who had a bit of Ukrainian blood brought sour cream to go with the rolls. She said cabbage rolls were supposed to be served with sour cream. Well, I happen to be a Filipino so I will cook it the Filipino way. We took turns cooking this recipe but I could tell mine was the best.

1 lb of medium ground pork
3 pieces of fresh chorizos
1 onion chopped coarsely
dash of ground pepper
dash of cayenne powder
salt to taste
dash of garlic seasoning powder
1 tsp of dried parsley
1 cup half cooked rice
514 ml stewed tomatoes
400 ml tomato sauce
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 head of medium cabbage

In a pan, cook the ground pork and the fresh chorizos until brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook the rice like you would when cooking fried rice for about 5 minutes. Set aside. (The rice would still be 3/4 cooked :-))

In a deep saucepan, boil about 6 cups or more of water. Core the cabbage and put it in the boiling water. Peel off the cabbage leaves one by one as they soften making sure that they do not tear or break in the process. Trim the thick spine at the back of the separated leaves for easier wrapping.

Put about 3 tbsp of the mixture in the center of the leaf. Wrap like you would wrap a shanghai lumpia.

Arrange in a slow cooker. Top with stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce and the tiny pieces left of the cabbage and cook it for 4 hours. You can also use a sauce pan but once it boils, turn your heat to the low and cook it for 1 hour.

Salmon Adobo

Heartily dedicated to Celia Kusinera of English Patis. I did promise her that I was going to post my recipe for the salmon collars I bought a couple of weeks ago. Well, if you know how to cook pork or chicken adobo, then you can cook this too. My aunt who came to visit me on her way to Copenhagen many years ago first introduced this recipe.

Not that she did not want to spend money, but when you’re cooking adobong salmon the best part would be the belly and the collars. I did try the fleshy part of the salmon and it was not as tasty as the belly part. What’s also nice is they are the cheapest part of salmon in the market.

What you need:

About 1 lb or more of salmon belly and collars
¼ cup of soy sauce
¼ cup of vinegar
1 clove of minced garlic
1 onion, sliced
¼ tbsp of whole black pepper
1 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of olive oil

Arrange the fish in a saucepan. Pour in all the ingredients. Let boil. Turn down the heat to low once it boils. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring it only once or twice during the entire cooking period. The salmon disintegrates fast as soon as it boils that’s why you want to cook it on a slow heat making sure that all sides of the fish will be seasoned by the sauce at some point. The taste of this dish improves if put in the fridge overnight.

WARNING, THIS IS NOT APPEALING TO CAUCASIANS IF YOU ARE MARRIED TO ONE. For some reason the smell of it while it is being cooked is not appealing to them.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Pastrami Sandwich

This is our lunch for tomorrow. Daughter is leaving early for her swimming practice. Son will be home late for his football practice. Hubby will be on day shift. Everyone will at least have two for the day before we all have our dinner together. We all have our different ways of preparing our sandwiches. This is how my daughter prepared ours:

100 gms Pastrami Sandwich Meat
12 grain loaf bread
cliced tomatoes
sliced pickles
green lettuce

She arranged everything between two slices of bread per sandwich and had them wrapped in plastic wrappers.

Shanghai Lumpia, Siomai and Green Salad with Papaya

My husband made a special request last night. He wanted to indulge. I was a little bit hesitant because it meant I was going to do a lot of cooking again. If there’s one thing he saved me from, it was the fact that he already knew what he wanted. There are days when he wants to eat a lot but he doesn’t really know what he wants to eat. His request was simple, shanghai lumpia and siomai. I thought I could live with that.

Of course, it was also hitting 2 birds with one stone, no make that three. We went out for a walk to buy the ingredients I needed.

My Shanghai is made of ground pork and a bit of longganisa or Chinese sausage. If I use the chinese sausage, I chop the sausage finely or as close to how the pork was ground. I used the same mixture except that with the siomai, I added a bit of spicyness to it.
Shanghai Lumpia

1 lb of ground pork
3 pieces of Pilipino longanisa (skinless)
1 onion chopped finely
dash of ground pepper
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
4 tbsp of soy sauce
1 egg
1 tbsp of sesame oil
wanton wrapper
lumpia wrapper

Mix the first 8 ingredients. Divide the mixture into two, one portion for the lumpia and the other for the siomai.

I do not know if I still need to put the instructions on how to wrap the lumpia and the wanton. Everybody seems to know how to do this. I would however want to emphasize that when you’re wrapping your lumpia, you might want wrap the mixture tightly to avoid the uncooked lumpia from absorbing a lot of oil. Fry. Serve Shanghai Lumpia with a catsup or plum sauce.

Before wrapping the siomai, you might want to add some roasted chilies to make your siomai more exciting. Steam the siomai for about 15 minutes or until done.

For the sauce of the siomai:

2 tbsp of soy sauce
½ tbsp of chilies in oil

For the Green Salad, this one is really simple.

1 bundle of green lettuce
¼ red onions sliced thinly
1 lb of ripe papaya

for the dressing:

1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of cider vinegar
dash of ground pepper
1 tbsp of mustard
1 tbsp of honey

Shake all the ingredients for the dressing in a shaker. Toss the salad and serve.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Saturday Brunch

Yesterday was one Saturday we all slept in. It’s been a busy week for us. Saturday is a day when we all try to take it easy at home. It’s when everybody is at home. It’s a day when you don’t need to rush into the shower or get dressed to go somewhere.

When I got up, it was already 11:00. The canned corned beef I’ve meant to serve for breakfast became a brunch. My husband wanted potatoes with corned beef, my son wanted potato omelet and I wanted at least some vegetables in mine. Well, see what kind of recipes I can come up with cabbage, corned beef and potatoes.

My daughter has been craving for pork and I had some marinated pork supposedly for sukiyaki. We had leftover vegetables from the Teriyaki Beef so here’s what we had on one lazy Saturday morning.

My ingredients for a 3 in 1 recipe

Olive oil
1 can of Palm Corned Beef
¼ shaved cabbage
½ onions coarsely chopped
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 egg, scrambled

Corned Beef with Potatoes

Fry potatoes in 2 tbsp of oil in a heated pan. Set aside ½ once it’s cooked. Leave the other half in the pan and add half of the corned beef. Saute for about 10 minutes. Serve.

Corned Beef with Cabbage

In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, sauté cabbage for about 5 minutes or less. Add the remaining corned beef and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Potato Omelet

In a skillet, heat about 1 or 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix the poatoes set aside when the corned beef with potatoes was cooked and the scrambled egg. Season with salt. Fry in the pan for 2 minutes on one side and another 2 minutes on the other side.

I will post the Teriyaki Pork recipe tomorrow.

Well, the Saturday Brunch got extended because we had the left over for dinner. It was one lazy Saturday when we got so lazy to cook dinner.

Beef Menudo

Menudo to the Mexicans is made of tripe and chili and believed to be an antidote for hangover. This is the reason why this is a common dish on New Year’s when everyone wants to get sober after a New Year’s Eve celebration.

In the Philippines, it is different. The main ingredient to the Filipinos’ menudo is liver. I do not put any liver on mine as much as possible. First, my kids do not like liver cooked that way. I think I had it with liver when my sister was suffering from Leukemia. Liver was believed to be a good source of iron and my parents used to half cook the liver and made sure we had to chew it all up otherwise it meant no playmates for the day for us.

My ingredients:

2 lbs of olive oil
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
2 medium diced potatoes
1 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery
½ cup green peas
¼ cup sultana raisins
1 cup tomato sauce
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook until brown. Add the potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the carrots and the celery and about 1/8 of water. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the green peas, raisins and tomato sauce and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot. The taste of this recipe improves overnight.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Teriyaki Beef Donburi (Beef Teriyaki Donburi)

I call this a Japanese dish cooked the Filipino way. FIRST TIME, FIRST SERVED too. Donburi to a Japanese means a bowl of rice served on a bowl also called donburi. Rice topped with a dish say Teriyaki Beef is called Teriyaki Beef Donburi. On Western menus, they have it as Beef Teriyaki Donburi but a Japanese lady I replaced at work said the proper way to say it is Teriyaki Beef Donburi.

Cooking Teriyaki Beef is easy but finding the right cut is difficult. The beef should be cut as thin as possible, or should I say shaved. I bought the meat from a Japanese store. The owner used to be a cook so he gave me some tips on preparing this. One thing I learned is that they do not use cornstarch to keep the sauce thick. Instead, they simmer the light teriyaki sauce and mirin on a slow fire for about 15 minutes making sure that the thickening sauce does not burn at the bottom of the pan.

Also, they do not use sugar to make their sauce sweet. They use rice wine called mirin instead. Aside from providing the sweetness that the dish needs, mirin has also the ability to mask strong meat and fish aroma and make your dish shine.

The kind of vegetables you add is also depending on who is going to eat the donburi. Bean sprouts, carrots and cabbage are the most popular ones but he suggested not to miss putting green onions. The Japanese people seem to have a strong affinity with green onions. I have seen them put green onions in almost every dish they prepare including the miso soup.

Well, my first try was successful. It was easy, alright. (I cooked enough for dinner and our lunch)

For the sauce

¼ cup teriyaki sauce
4 tbsp of mirin

For the beef

2 tbsp of olive oil
1 lb of “shaved” beef
1/8 or a little bit more of teriyaki soy

For the vegetables

2 medium carrots, julienne cut
¼ cabbage, shaved
200 grams of bean sprouts
1 small onion, sliced thinly

Simmer the teriyaki sauce and the mirin on slow fire for about 15 minutes. Marinate beef for about 15 minutes.

Once the two procedures above have been done, prepare the pan for cooking the beef.

In a very hot pan, put in the marinated beef, discarding the marinating sauce. Add oil. Do not cover the pan and it should be hot enough to allow whatever liquid is left in the beef to evaporate. Stir occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes and set aside.

In the same pan, put all the vegetables in and cover the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally. When vegetables are cooked, turn off the stove and add the sauce and the green onions. Serve on top of rice.

I am sure you can do it too. Try it.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


What else is new with pancit? It is so pinoy. Not a lot of people know that Filipinos have their own version of noodles. Noodles is usually associated with Chinese people just as pasta is to Italians. I am sure I do not need to write the recipe as we all know how to cook this except that we vary in what we put in our pancit. Here’s what I put in mine.

½ lb pork (yes, we’ve had a lot of meat lately), sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, julienne sliced
¼ medium cabbage, sliced
¼ lb green beans, sliced
1 pack of Mama Sita’s pancit canton mix (yes, I cheated)
½ lb of bijon
1 pack of 227 gms canton

I boiled the pork in about 1 cup of water before slicing it. I saved the stock for cooking the noodles.

While boiling the pork, I boiled about 1 1/2 cups of water in a large sauce pan for the noodles while preparing the vegetables.

When everything was ready, I sautéed the pork in a heated pan. I did not need to add oil as the pork rendered it’s own oil in the process. I don’t toast my pork like some other people toast theirs. After about 1 minute, I added the onion stirring it constantly to avoid the pork from sticking to the pan. I added the carrots and the cabbage and cooked them for about a minute. Cabbage I find has the same cooking time as the carrots, that’s why I cook them together. I added the canton mix.. I only half cooked the vegetables and set them aside until the noodles were ready.

While cooking the vegetables, I put the noodles in the large sauce pan including the stock I set aside when I boiled the pork. I liked cooking my noodles separately to avoid them from becoming mushy. The vegetables needed constant stirring for even cooking. Cooking was about 2 minutes.

Once the noodles were cooked, I combined the half cooked vegetables, the nooldes and the green beans and cooked it for another 1 to 2 minutes. No calamansi this time. I had to come home early because my daughter was not feeling well. My daughter thought this pancit was “anemic”, totally different from what she sees from what other Filipinos serve but then there was too much sodium already in the mix. (Forget about the MSG)

the Real Pomegranates this time.

Curiosity almost killed me. I owe JMom an apology. The one I showed earlier as pomegranate here was actually a dragon fruit. I got a refund for being charged the price of a pomegranate when it was actually a dragon fruit. How did that happen? When I went to another grocery store today, I noticed they had pomegranates which looked different from what I thought was one. Curiosity got the better of me again. I knew I got the right stuff this time because it had a code on it. I bought it of course to try it for the nth time. I sometimes keep my receipts just in case I need to return some stuff and I was lucky I kept this particular receipt for the "fake" pomegranates. The real one was still not so appealing to me. Thanks JMom for pointing it out. I did go back to the grocery store on that day you mentioned it. They still had the "pomegranate" sign.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Seafood Combination

If you loved my Thai Chicken Curry, you will surely love this too. Lots of mussels, squid, clam meat and black bean sauce. This time with cilantro. 'just got so busy with my work but promise, 'will post my recipe.
This is one of our Thai favorites. The mussels were intended for sinigang(my husband’s dinner wish for the week) but I changed my mind. The prawns were from my freezer and the clams, abalone and squid were bought while they were on sale this week.

I have had several tries on this but never got the right combination until I cooked my Malaysian Chicken Curry. It just occurred to me to try blending the onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro and black beans together and use it as a sauce. Guess what? I’m in business!

Here’s my recipe:

1/8 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp of black beans
ginger about the size of your thumb (or half if you prefer it mild)
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion (set aside ½ for sautéing and the ½ for processing in the blender)
¼ cup cilantro

2 tbsp of olive oil
1 bag of mussels about 1 lb (half shelled)
1 bag of seafood combination (about ½ lb of clam meat, sliced squid
1 cup of prawns
red and green peppers (julienne sliced)

In a blender, process the first 6 ingredients for about 5 to 10 seconds. I added about 1 tbsp of soy sauce to keep the blender going. Usually, if you are blending dry ingredients, the blender will have difficulty processing the ingredients evenly unless you add liquid to it.

Heat the oil in a pan. Saute the onions for about 1 minute. Add mussels, seafood mix, prawns and cover. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, stir, cover pan cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.


Indonesian Soup

Something I had in Jakarta last year. It's basically like our sinigang sans sinigang broth, seasoned with fish sauce and some cayenne powder. Dont' ask me what it's called. Not a lot of Malaysians know how to speak in English. I just know that this is called Udang something..something. I noticed that not a lot of people cook dinner there. There are ambulant vendors going around the blocks selling cooked dishes at night ala "paanndeessal" for us in the morning (know what I mean?). There's one area near the city center where during the day it's a sidewalk. However, as soon as it gets dark, you would think you're lost because the sidewalk is gone and makeshift tents are up.
A few hours away from Jakarta, there is a place like Baguio, foggy at times and cold and it has massive tea plantations. Tea in Jakarta is equivalent to softdrinks in the Philippines, pop in Canada and soda in the US. They have it in bottles and they're called Teh Botol. I think it means bottled tea. I forgot the name of the place but it will come to me. Up there, there's a restaurant for tourists and they serve fried gold fish. I swear it's gold fish(I read it in the menu)and as big as a tilapia but my brother in law said it's not actually a gold fish. When I went to the washroom, I saw a huge aquarium fillled with gold fishes, only bigger than the gold fishes I see in home aquariums. It tasted good dipped in kecap manis (sweet soy), fresh crushed chilis and sliced tomatoes.
I am proud of our Filipino dishes. You have to live in Indonesia to appreciate the people's specialties. They also have sup buntut which I am planning to learn how to cook. If I get lucky, I will post it hear but I will first have to ask my sister-in-law to translate the recipe for me.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Braised Beef

This recipe reminds me a lot of my short stay in Manila.

When I was there reviewing for my board exams, I was also working for an Uncle along Timog Avenue in Quezon City. I would work from 8 to 5 in Timog and run to Espana for my 6 –10 pm review. I do not know why I did this. I think I was so excited that I was offered a job right after graduation, (duh! from an Uncle). I had so much pride that I did not live with his family in Q.C. nor with my brother’s family. I rented a room with some friends from university. Suddenly, I had the feeling of independence. I paid for my rent but allowance and food were still form parents (lol).

This independence was also subsidized by my sister-in-law who was also my officemate (lol). Because of my hectic schedule, I didn’t have enough time to cook for myself or wash my clothes. She would buy me lunches from a restaurant called Toppings near our office.

On weekends, former high school classmates who were still studying at UP Diliman would come and get me from my boarding house and bring me to SM City. We would all order Braised Beef from Toppings at its Food Court. Now this reminds me of how light the traffic was then. Imagine after 5, I would make it to my 6 pm review in Espana? I doubt if you can still do that now. SM City was the biggest SM branch then. And oh, I used to travel from Timog to Valenzuela in buses keeping payroll for about 75 employees in my bag. Delta-Timog Intersection traffic was predictable then.

My stay in Manila didn’t last long. I just couldn’t stand the climate and I just missed home. But it wasn’t altogether that bad. I had Braised Beef as one of my sweetest memories of it. There were manhole experiences too.

Well, here’s my recipe for Braised Beef.

1 lb of lean grainy beef
50 gms of star anise
¼ cup of soy sauce
¼ cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks of chopped celery
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium potato, diced
1 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup water

In a slow cooker, combine the first 4 four ingredients and cook for about 3 hours. You can cook this a night ahead. Store in the fridge including the sauce.

In a pan, heat oil. Sauté onion for half a minute. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for another 3 minutes using the sauce from the cooked beef for keeping the vegetables moist. Add the celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beef and the dissolved cornstarch and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve on top of rice. So is Toppings still in business?


Please see the real pomegranate here

When I was young, I used to see pomegranates as ingredients in recipe books and I've always wondered how they looked like. I am not sure if this is now available in the Philippines but I've never seen one myself in the Philippines. I've been here for over a decade now and I have never thought about buying them. Last weekend, curiosity got the better of me.

I bought one and tasted it. My husband who is always afraid to taste something foreign did not even touch this. My kids did. Well it tasted like kiwi. The seeds are like kiwi's. However, I think I liked kiwi better.
"The wide fruit is crowned at the base by the prominent calyx. The tough, leathery skin or rind is typically yellow overlaid with light or deep pink or rich red. The interior is separated by membranous walls and white, spongy, bitter tissue into compartments packed with sacs filled with sweetly acid, juicy, red, pink or whitish pulp or aril. In each sac there is one angular, soft or hard seed".
I would not want to buy this like I buy apples and oranges. It's just not my kind of fruit.

Free Night

There are weekend nights when my husband and I declare as free nights. That is, we can eat anywhere in the house, in front of the television, inside our rooms, in the dining….just anywhere we feel comfortable. We can eat anything we find inside the fridge and cupboard like cheese, or we can make a sandwich, we can cook anything we feel like eating, anything. We can drink anything, chocolate, coffee, milk, wine, tea, hard drinks. ..anything. It’s a free night. It’s something we always look forward to, where we don’t have to sit down and watch our table manners or talk about what’s gone on during the day, etc. It is more like an indulgence night when we don't have to worry about what we eat.

Last Saturday night, we called it a free night. We rented the movie “Home on the Range”. I know it’s for kids but we liked it. We declared it a free night and surprisingly we all wanted something light, no love stories, no war movies..just something light.

Last Friday night, I brought home some taco shells that we did not finish at the office. They came with the salsa and sour cream. Bonus! I grabbed a tomato from the grocery store when we went out to borrow the movie. I forgot the olives and I had none left in the fridge. Oh well, I had quick melt cheese. I grabbed a few bottles of coolers, my husband had Heineken for himself.

So this is what I made for myself. “Tachos”. I toasted the taco shells a bit. Everybody had a boodle fight with my “nacho” invention. They had nothing in mind to get from the fridge. Actually, my daughter had tuna with crackers but she didn’t want to take pictures of her “food tripping”.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Enoki & Shiitake Mushrooms with Yu Choy

Enoki is a mushroom I have often ignored until I accidentally tasted it in one of the demos in one of the chinese grocery stores we go to. My family and I have fallen in love with it ever since.

Shiitake was of course not something new to me. A classmate’s family business used to grow this variety for importation to Japan. I have never liked this mushroom because of its smell. I found out that I acquired the ability to determine the best Shiitake when I came to know Enoki. These two mushrooms compliment each other in fact that when you have one, you must have to have the other one.

During the demo, the lady doing the demo used Yu Choy. Some say you could add anything green and luscious but I always stuck with Yu Choy for fear that it was not going to be as good.

So here’s what I put in my dish:

2 tbsp of olive oil
2 200 gm packs of enoki mushroom
200 gms of shiitake mushroom
1 lb of yu choy
2 tbsp of oyster sauce
2 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup of water
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic

Heat oil in a pan. Put in the enoki and shiitake mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the yu choy and cover pan for about 1 minute stirring occasionally. The mushrooms and the yu choy are very succulent so you don’t need water at all to cook the dish. Mix the oyster and soy sauces with the cornstarch solution and pour in pan stirring constantly to avoid the cornstarch from not being mixed consistently with the vegetables. Cook for a minute. Turn off stove. Mix garlic. Serve in a bowl.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Malaysian Chicken Curry

I couldn't pass this opportunity up. Too rich but I did it anyway. It's got to be the best chicken curry I've ever cooked in my life so far. It's also my first time to cook this recipe but my second time to eat this Malaysian dish. This is loaded with spices but very simple to make. I however do not have the time to write the recipe right at the moment but I will very soon..hopefully in 24 hrs. time. It's the weekend. Have a good weekend everyone.
--------------------------THE RECIPE FINALLY----------------------------------------------
A friend brought this when she celebrated her niece’ first-month’s birthday. A Chinese tradition according to her even though she is a Malaysian. Anyway, I was never successful in getting the recipe from her. Over time I have been getting bits and pieces of what her mom put in the recipe. Because of the distinct taste, I was so determined to learn how to cook it.

The opportunity came. I had a copy of the recipe from somewhere but I couldn’t believe that some of the ingredients in that recipe were actually needed, like fresh tomatoes so I had to wait for the proper time. I certainly did not see any tomatoes in her dish? She however confirmed that her mom actually put tomatoes in it and I will tell you the secret how it did not show in the dish.

Over lunch one day, I talked about what was in the recipe I had in my hand. She finally told me that I had to put everything in the processor to grind them all. Ahaaa! Okey, my next question is how did you make the rice yellow?

Well, here’s the secret.

For the rice

1 cup of glutinous rice
1 ¾ cups of water
1 tbsp of turmeric

Steam rice like you normally do. BIG NO NO! DO NOT USE YOUR RICE COOKER. The color will stick to the pan. Use an ordinary kaldero and do the usual way of cooking rice. Once it boils. Stir in the turmeric and cover pan. Cook slowly, the way you normally cook rice.

For the chicken

1 whole chicken cut into small pieces-remember to skin the chicken. You are already sinning with the coconut oil(I just knew it was going to turn okey so I had my friend in mind to share this dish with-if we had to eat this whole chicken, I will be fried by my family)
1 can of coconut milk
patis to taste
1 tbsp of turmeric
1 tbsp of cumin
1 tbsp of Indian curry powder
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
3 cloves of garlic
¼ red pepper
about 4 pieces of red chili
about 3 pieces of crushed bayleaves
1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Extract oil from about 1/3 of the creamy part of the coconut milk. Once it turns into oil, add the turmeric, cumin, fish sauce and curry powder. Saute the chicken using this mixture. Cover pan and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk 1/3 at a time. In the meantime, in a food processor or blender, put the onion, tomato, 1 quarter of red pepper, chilis and garlic in. Process these for about 5 seconds or lesser. You don’t want the onions and garlic to be too fine.

Add the processed ingredients in and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves. At some point you would wonder if you got it right. The onion and the garlic would make the dish pungent. Be patient because once these get simmered for about 10 minutes, the aroma changes. Season with patis. My experiment stopped there. It tasted good already. The recipe called for ¼ finely chopped cilantro but I did not want to take the chance anymore. I used the cilantro for garnishing instead. I had 1 chicken to waste when the prices are just too expensive because of the bird flu. It was heavenly. Now my friend wants the recipe.. Oh, and the taste improved after one day.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Diced Chicken Schezuan Style

Yes, another Chinese dish for us last night. It wasn’t planned. It’s almost the end of the week and I only had celery, carrots and some leftover bamboo shoots in my fridge. I could still make my dining table exciting I told myself.

In my freezer, I make sure that there are different kinds and cuts of meat like beef, in stewing or ground; pork, sweet and sour cut or ground; prawns; fish. When chickens go on sale, I buy them in bulk, slice them in different slices and pack them in freezer bags. Pre-packing them that way makes my after office hours more manageable. My freezer is not full because I only make sure that there’s one of a kind there. Anything I use during the week, I list it down and buy it on the weekend when I go grocery shopping.

Cooking my chicken Schezuan Style, I had:

2 tbsp of olive oil
4 boneless chicken breasts, diced
2 tbsp of roasted chilis in sesame oil
3 tbsp of black bean sauce
about 6 dried chilis
1 onion
2 medium carrots, diced
5 stalks of celery, sliced into about 1.5 cms long
about ¾ cup of canned bamboo shoots
lots of chopped garlic

Sauté the chicken first in 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 5 minutes or until cooked and set it aside.

Pouring the remaining oil, I put the sliced onion, the chilis and the black bean sauce in. Be prepared to have a sneeze. The chilis are deadly. Add the carrots in and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the celery and the bamboo shoots. Cover the pan and cook for another 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and the chopped garlic.

My husband thought I was mad at him because it was too spicy. Usually, I use my kids as my gauge. If they can eat what I cooked, it means it was just fine. They had 2 servings each so I thought I did just fine.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Fried Chow Mien

Fried or not, chow mien is already greasy, the noodles I bought anyway. However I wanted to try this recipe the way our favorite Cantonese restaurant cooked it. You will be surprised that you only need 4 tablespoons of olive oil to fry about ½ kilo of noodles because the noodles have “built-in”(for lack of a better description) oil in them already.

We stopped going to this restaurant about 7 months or so ago. Our family was trying to cut back on greasy foods and much as my children love Chinese food, they were very patient and cooperative enough. One thing I make sure when I plan our meals is that I don’t make them feel deprived just because I am watching my diet. I always try to incorporate vegetables in every meal.

I basically eat anything but the amount is a lot lesser than what I used to eat. I do not put my children into an “eating regiment”. I just remind them that they are only supposed to eat so much. Over time, they got used to it.

These are the things I put in my chow mien: (I'd like to say this is a meal in itself already)

5 tbsp of olive oil (4 for frying and 1 for sautéing)
½ kilo of chow mien noodles (thin ones)
400 gms of shelled prawns
1 onion
¼ medium cabbage, sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced
200 gms green beans
200 gms of snow peas
3 tbsps of cornstarch dissolved in 2 cups water
1 chicken bouillon
lots of chopped garlic

Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Put chow mien in and fry for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally or “flipping” the noodles on its side every once in a while making sure that all the noodles get crispy. Put in a plate ready to be mixed with the cooked vegetables.

In the same pan, cook the prawns (no need for oil) for about 3 minutes. Set aside including the juice extracted from the prawns. The juice helps in making your chow mien tasty.

Still in the same pan, heat the remaining oil and put the onions. Cook for about a quarter or half a minute. Add the carrots and the cabbage, chicken bouillon and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for a minute. Add the snow peas, cook for half a minute and then pour in the dissolved cornstarch and the cooked prawns (together with the juice) constantly stirring to make sure that cornstarch is mixed consistently with the vegetables. Turn off stovetop as soon as the mixture boils and mix the garlic in. You probably noticed that I am a garlic addict. I really am. I love the taste it gives to my food and I love the fact that garlic is a powerful anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Studies have also shown that garlic lowers the cholesterol and the blood pressure. True or not, I just love garlic.
Mix the noodles and the cooked vegetables. Serve with calamansi or lemon and maybe soy sauce on the side.

Just a simple tip. The amount of water is very important because you want to eat your noodles crispy but you don’t want them dry either.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Halibut with Green Onions, Wasabi and Soy Sauce

My children do not call me frugal mom for nothing. Last weekend, I took my children to an island downtown purposely to buy halibut collars. Halibut collars because I cannot afford the steak and fillet. A pound of fillet calls for $11 but the collars cost only $2 per pound. The taste and the 3 Omega Fat of course is in the belly and collars. Driving downtown is a pain, let alone the hassle of looking for a parking space.

I got parking all right but when you get there so late, they might all be gone. Also, our favorite store was sold out of halibut collars so I went to a Chinese vendor and I got 2 batches already packed and just ready to be rung out.

When I got home, I discovered that majority of what was in the bag were all fishbone and a tiny bit of collars. Typical Chinese? Maybe it was just a coincidence. So I cooked this half-heartedly. The bone of course was kept for fish broth for later. The recipe is really good though. My son found the sauce stingy and so he joked about my being frugal. So much for being frugal.

My obra maestra for the day:

Halibut collars
1 thinly sliced green onions
25 gms finely chopped ginger
8 tbsp of olive oil
8 tbsp of soy sauce
½ tsp of wasabi
2 tbsp of knorr seasoning

Steam the halibut collars making sure they don’t fall apart. Fish when cooked are so delicate, they fall apart easily. Before cooking the sauce, make sure you have the rest of the ingredients ready and the fish all set up in a plate. Once that’s all done, in a pan, heat oil, put in ginger and saute for about 2 minutes. Pour in the soy, wasabi and knorr seasoning. Add the green onions and stir for about half a minute. Pour sauce directly on to the fish. This is better served when everybody is ready to sit down and eat. The aroma of the ginger and wasabi provokes the appetite.

Porcupine Meatballs

Last night I found out my course was cancelled. There weren’t too many students who signed up for it. It was a good thing because my son was left outside waiting for his sister who babysat for a neighbor. He had a football practice and the two did not coordinate as to who was going to have the keys. My hubby was of course on afternoon shift. I did not bring the car to work and things really were not working the way they should. It is one of those days if you know what I mean.

I find that it is going to be like this until the first week of October when the dust settles. Right now, the kids are still trying to fix their schedules. My girl got signed up for a course she did not really want so she is working on her course change until Friday. Tomorrow, she’ll be out of the house early for her swimming practice. She belongs to her school’s swimming team.

On days like these, I have to make sure that the fridge is loaded. Kids tend to just opt to go hungry when there’s no ready food for them to grab. Last night, I cooked for lunch and dinner for tonight on top of our dinner last night. Sometimes it is just more practical to cook a ton of say spaghetti for the whole week but you get tired of it after 2 meals. If I do this, my kids would pretend to take their lunch to school only to hear a few weeks after or even days that they dumped it because they just had it.

This is when my slow cooker comes in handy. While baking something for dinner, I had the lunch being readied and the dinner for today being cooked in the slow cooker. You can’t beat that I guess.

Here’s my slow cooker Recipe. The taste has the resemblance to a sweet and sour meatballs. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

What I put in my meatballs:

1.5 lbs. of lean ground beef
¼ cup of long grain rice
1 onion finely chopped
dash of pepper
5 tbsp of soy sauce
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 egg
2 tbsp of flour
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 398 ml Del Monte crushed pineapple
1 cup water
590 ml. Tomato sauce

I mixed the first 8 ingredients together in a bowl and shaped them into meatballs. In a pan, heat the olive oil and cook the meatballs until brown. Throw them all into the slow cooker including the pineapple water and tomato sauce. Crank your cooker to high heat and cook it for 4 hours stirring occasionally. In my case, until my hubby got home. Add more water if it turns dry.

Serve with rice. I should say pack(for my husband) with rice and veggies.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Pinakbet (My version)

I always thought that pinakbet originated from the Ilocos region but my friend says otherwise. She hails from the Southern Tagalog region and says that they have their own version of Pinakbet.

The way I see it is that the difference between the tagalog and the ilocano versions is in the kind of bagoong they use to season their recipe. I stand to be corrected. Alamang is used as seasoning in tagalog and the monamon bagoong is used by the Ilocanos. Anyhow, my version is a modified one. Afterall, pinakbet is known thoughout the Philippines.

I am typically a person who does not add a lot of water in my recipes if it doesn't call for cornstarch and depending on the recipe. Half a cup of water would be plenty and even a quarter might be a bit too much if I add mushrooms to my pinakbet

I use oyster mushrooms to add a little sauce in mine. Fresh mushrooms are very succulent and very tasty and they exude a certain taste that makes my pinakbet inviting to my kids.

As for the choice of bagoong, it doesn’t matter to my kids. I haven’t heard them say “stinky” so far. My cousins’ children are just the worst. They leave their house if the ulam is pinakbet.

My friend who is married to a Caucasian can only eat pinakbet at my place and I am pretty sure you know why.

Things I put in my pinakbet:

3 tbsp of olive oil
½ lb of pork, sliced thinly
I onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
about 2 tbsp of cooked alamang
2 medium eggplants
¼ medium squash, sliced
½ lb of long beans cut into about 2 inches long
1 bittermelon, sliced
½ lb of winged beans, stringed and cut into about two inches long
200 gms of okra
½ lb of oyster mushroom
2 cloves of chopped garlic

Cook pork in a pan until it turns brown. Add oil and onion. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add Tomatoes and the alamang and cook for about 1 minute. Add squash and cover pan. Cook for about 3 minutes adding just about 2 tbsp of water to prevent it from getting burnt.

Add the rest of the vegetables including the mushroom. The vegetables and the mushroom should be able to give off a bit of water enough to make a small amount of sauce to it. If not, add in about ¼ cup. Taste to season. Just before turning off the stove, mix in the chopped garlic.
I cooked a bit more supposedly for my lunch today but it was all gone last night.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Things you will find in my freezer

Once in a while I would check my freezer to make sure that there are frozen foods I need to discard just because they have been there forever, you know what I mean? This weekend, I went through the pile and these were the stuff I found:

Blueberries in 2 cup measurements

I made sure that I kept a lot of blueberries this summer. Whenever we go to a potluck party in fall and winter, blueberry cheesecake is a popular request for me to bring. My friends probably knew that I had a supply of frozen blueberries. Well, last year, I was a show off and made 2 pans of cheesecake on one occasion. On top of that, my daughter who was in a Food course learned how to make scones. These just brought my supply down to puffftttt.

Strawberries, whole and sliced also in 2 cup measurements

This was just by accident. I normally do not freeze strawberries but because they were on sale this year, I just bought a few first. And then they were getting cheaper and cheaper and so I was enticed on buying some more. My kids got all so “strawberried-out” that they were left on the kitchen counter bound to rot. I washed and cleaned them and put them in the freezer. One day, my son started digging in the freezer for something to make into a shake. Well he found the strawberries so I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to store some more before they disappear from the shelves.

Bag of Lima beans

I love putting lima beans in my pinakbet. I bought a bag and I couldn’t use them all in one cooking so I put them in the freezer for tonight. Yes, I’m having pinakbet for tonight.

Tomato Sauce

Yes, this is the canned tomato sauce that I cannot use again in one cooking. There are recipes that sometimes call only for 1 half of the can. I don’t want to put the whole can in just because it is going to ruin the taste of my recipe. I first put them in containers and are left to create a science project inside the fridge. I didn’t feel good about putting things into waste so one day I decided to put the excess sauce in a freezer bag, tied it with twisties and then on to a square or round container and threw it in the freezer. Once it hardened, I pulled the bag off the container and left the bagged sauce in the freezer for future use.


These are expensive when not on sale so I just buy them when they are. They make quick and easy recipes or simply just “pangsahog” when you run out of meat.

Smoked Salmon

I make chowder a lot and smoked salmon make good enhancer to my chowder. Just because I live around the coast, we get quite a bit of salmon around this time of the year. I order them from a Filipino friend who works for a fishing company. This is my favorite pasalubong when we go home to the Philippines or when we have relatives coming over for a visit.

There are other practical recipes I freeze for rainy days. I got the idea of freezing from my boss’ wife who is a pro. She seems to freeze everything.
Unfortunately I don’t remember doing this in the Philippines because of the frequent power outages. When we were there for Christmas vacation one time, there was just a massive power outage probably because of the holiday overload and we were forced to cook everything in our freezer either as adobo or paksiw.

Sinigang na Baka

Note: I just received a note saying this is a common way of cooking beef in the Philippines. I happened to be with a group that had no idea you could cook beef that way. Anyway, read on.

I find that not a lot of Filipinos including myself know that you can cook beef as sinigang. I got invited by a friend at her house for dinner one time and she served us this recipe. I was with a group of Filipinos actually and not any of them were familiar with that recipe as well. She hails from Zambales and she said that this is how her family normally cooks their beef.

There’s nothing extra ordinary in preparing this. It’s like cooking a nilagang baka but instead of adding ginger, bay leaf and black pepper, you put chopped garlic and sliced tomatoes. The vegetables that go with both recipes are the same, pechay or any other green leafy vegetables.

What I put in my sinigang”

1 lb of beef for stewing
5 pieces of taro root (gabi), cut into bite pieces
2 pieces of tomatoes. Sliced
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 bundle of pechay
chili pepper (optional)
sinigang broth, about 3 tbsps
patis to taste

First, boil in six cups of water the beef together with the taro root for about an hour or until the beef becomes tender The taro root is the one that gives the flavor to this sinigang. Once the beef is tender, add the tomatoes and garlic and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the pechay and the chili pepper and cook for another 1 minute. Add the broth and the patis to season.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Chili Con Carne

This is one of my easy recipes. It’s basically a “throw anything into” one. I am a person who does not measure my ingredients. I estimate. This weekend when it was rainy, I decided I should have something warm.

My estimates:

½ cup of red kidney beans

1 lb of lean ground beef
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 onions
1 can of 170 ml diced tomatoes
1 can of 680 ml tomato sauce
1 can of 340 ml canned mushrooms
2 tbsp of chilli powder
1 tbsp of brown sugar
lots of chopped garlic
Patis to taste

I cook my red kidney beans for about an hour or until cooked. You don’t want to undercook the beans because once it gets mixed with sugar or tomato sauce they tend to stop getting cooked. To be safe, I always cook them more until they’re ready to get mushy.

In a pan, cook beef until it turns brown. Add oil and onions. As soon as onion starts to become transparent, add beans and mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the diced tomatoes and sauce. Add the chilli powder, garlic and sugar. Season to taste.

Cook on medium heat in slow cooker for about 3 hours. You don't have to cook this in a slow cooker if you don't have one. You can simmer this slowly in your saucepan on your stovetop for about half an hour making sure that it doesn't turn dry. If it does turn dry, add a little bit of water once in a while. Don't crank your stove up. Slow cook remember?

Serve with buns and salad. Enjoy.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Chopsuey (Stir Fry)

It’s amazing what you can do with just green beans, carrots, cabbage, snow peas and celery. When I cook, I try to keep in mind that we should have at least five vegetables a day. I keep this in mind when grocery shopping too and so it becomes automatic that they become part of what is in my grocery cart. As you journey with me, you will find that I use these five ingredients very often in cooking. Tonight, I will start my "5 vegetables" with Stir Fry or Chopsuey.


½ lb of pork belly
1 medium onion
¼ cabbage, cut
¼ lb green beans
3 medium carrots
3 stalks of celery
150 gms of stringed snow peas
2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 cup of water
1 clove garlic chopped
Patis to taste
1tsp sesame oil

I am not particular about the slice of my veggies. My principle is, as long as all the veggies are sliced consistently with the rest, it’s alright. I don’t normally sauté my pork. I boil it for about 10 minutes before slicing it into about ½ cm thick as pangsahog. I put my garlic last. Some actually sauté it first. In a pan, I put the sliced pork and cook it for about 2 minutes. I add the sliced onion and I cook it for ½ minute. I found out that onions are cooked in different ways depending on your recipe. I don’t make my onions transparent before I add the vegetables in this particular recipe. I then add the vegetables according to how quick they get cooked.

Personally, I put the celery, carrots and the cabbage at the same time and cook them for about 2 minutes. The green beans are next and cooked for another 1 minute. I put the snow peas last. Usually as soon as I put the snow peas I also add the dissolved cornstarch, patis to taste, garlic and sesame oil to make sure they are mixed consistently with the vegetables before the cornstarch thickens. I mentioned in my previous recipes that I like my vegetables crispy. You can always cook your vegetables longer should you wish to cook them some more.

My kids want a little sauce in their rice so sometimes I add more water but my standard measurement is just one cup.

Guinisang Upo

Upo reminds me of my late mom. She had a green thumb. Give her a seed and she will turn that into a plentiful harvest. Gardening wasn’t her profession. It was her hobby. It was her way of releasing her stress. I remember when she was mad, you’d know where to find her. She was in her garden. She grew beautiful flowers, robust vegetables, and she had rows of anthuriums. Next to her family, she loved her plants and her gloves.

She grew all varieties of upo, long and short, stubby or not and she gave them away for free. She was not as good a cook as my father and it was my father who made this unending supply of upo delectable.

It surprised me when I went to the Filipino store and bought an upo one day and cooked it the way my father did and when I served it, it was so foreign to my husband. He loved it of course but he never remembered his mom cooking it the way I did. It’s very good even my kids love it. Try it.


½ lb. of ground pork
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 onion
2 tomatoes
1 medium upo cut in about 3/4 thick
Patis to taste

Cook ground pork until brown in a pan. Add oil and sauté garlic. Add onions and cook until onions become transparent. Add tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add upo. Do not add any water because the upo itself when seasoned brings out water itself and exudes a distinct flavor. Cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.
This recipe since I cooked it became a popular request from both my kids and my husband.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Baked Chicken

Nangapit bahay ako kay Sassy and found out she had chicken too last night. We had chicken last night. The climate has changed. Fall is becoming apparent now. Brrr na naman. September, October, November..brrr. When I got home, our place was cold so I decided to turn on the oven. I brought chicken out for thawing before I left for work without any idea of what to do with it. When the weather gets so balmy, I feel depressed sometimes and I don’t feel like cooking. My daughter suggested that we should have baked chicken because she cannot help me. Yesterday was their first serious school day and she was busy with her homework.

I skinned my chicken. While it is good to leave them on to give the meat a little flavor, I tend to get tempted by eating the cooked skin while dishing out. Last night, I just said no and it was the end of skin. Skin is the worst source of fat.


4 pieces of skinned chicken thighs and legs attached (that’s how they were described at the grocery store)
2 tbsps of Club House Garlic Plus Seasoning
1 lb of nugget potatoes cut into quarters

Turn oven to 350. Rub seasoning to the chicken meat. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.
In a bag, shake potatoes and about 1 tbsp of the seasoning and put in a bowl. Bake in the oven together with the chicken. Chicken and potatoes will be done about the same time.


5 pcs of medium carrots, cut
1 lb of green beens, stringed and halved

Steam for about 7 to 10 minutes a few minutes just befere dinner.

Serve hot.

(The corn was extra. We had a few cobs left from the “inihaw na mais” batch and so I steamed them too)

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Caribbean Delight

I finally took my "inaanak" out for dinner last night and this was the healthiest dessert I could order. I had the fruits and my hubby had the ice cream. I dipped the fruits in the choco dip when no one was looking..ssshhh. I was impressed with the creativity.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Thai Chicken Curry

My office is 2 blocks away from a famous Thai restaurant, Thai House. Usually, we in the office try to set aside a day in a month to order in. Most of us either walk or ride our bikes to go to work and so on some days that we are all “carless” and we feel like ordering in, we order from this restaurant. Not that we don’t want this restaurant’s recipes, but its entrees are just so pricey. I told you it is famous.

Thai Chicken Curry is at the top of our list more often than not. Over time, I was able to identify everything that was on it except for the aroma. I experimented for a while using lemon grass. It worked but it entailed a lot of pounding to extract the desired flavor out of it.

While grocery shopping one day, I chanced upon this cute jar by Thai Kitchen. I tried it and it was definitely the aroma I was looking for. Thai Kitchen has the red, yellow and green curry pastes and of course Thai House served different kinds of curries. I tried the green curry but with different vegetables and it was equally good. I don’t cook this very often because of its coconut milk content which is believed to be a source of bad cholesterol. I am partial of course to coconut but I’d rather be cautious than sorry.


1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp of Thai Kitchen yellow curry paste
Fish sauce (Patis) to taste
1 ½ lbs Chicken breast, sliced into bite sizes
1 can (about 200 gms) Bamboo shoots
1 piece each of Green and red peppers, julienne sliced
Basil leaves
Green peas (optional)

Extract coconut oil from about 1/3 of the canned coconut milk in a pan. I usually use the cream that sits right on top of the can when you open it. Once the cream turns into oil, add the curry paste and the fish sauce. Use this oil to saute the chicken meat. Add the rest of the coconut milk and cook for about 10 minutes or until chicken meat is cooked.

Add the bamboo shoots and the green and red peppers and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. You can also add the green peas at this point if you want. Season to taste.

Once cooked, add the basil leaves.

I usually make this recipe a night ahead for the office just because this recipe gets better when left in the fridge overnight.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Inihaw na mais

The season is almost over. This is the last batch of corn harvests that our grocer is selling. My husband "slow grilled" these with the husks on to keep the corn from drying. You could tell if it is done once the husks turn black and the grains turn brownish. These go well with margarine and salt. The grains are really juicy. Reminds me of my mom who used to plant this in our backyard when I was young. My father and mother would harvest a bucketful every three days, steam them and we would eat everything under the guyabano tree by our house.

Beef Mami

A Soup for all seasons. A meal in inself. Mami in particular reminds me of my university days. When I was in university many years ago, I used to get my allowance every Monday of each week and I had to learn how to stretch that money to last me a week. My mother used to prepare lunches for us but there were days that I felt like eating, just eating at the school cafeteria. The cheapest then that my daily budget would allow is mami. An order of ordinary mami was Php3.00. If you wanted to make it special, you had to pay an additional Php .50 and it came with onions and a boiled egg.

I bought a bulk of skirt steak from a friend this summer and I didn’t know what to do with it because this part of the beef was quite grainy. I tried grilling it but it wasn’t the kind of meat for grilling. However, the grains reminded me of how those university days were then and voila an idea got hatched.

What you need:

¼ cup Soy sauce
¼ cup Brown sugar
25 gms of Star Anise
1 lb Beef

3 tbsp Olive oil
Lots of garlic, chopped
1 head of wombok or Chinese cabbage or in grocery stores, sui choy, sliced thinly
5 medium Carrots, Julienne sliced
4 hard-boiled eggs
Green onions
2 Beef bullion
1 pack of 500 gms Chow mein noodles
calamansi or lemon

I cooked the beef a day ahead in a slow cooker for about 3 hrs. I put the first four ingredients. I set it aside in the refrigerator overnight. Some recipes taste better if put in the fridge overnight. This is one of them.

Just before the meal, I cook the garnishing.

Boil water for the soup. I boiled 6 cups and added the beef bouillion. Today was not the day for me to make a healthy soup stock. We were going to a party, that's why. Also cook the noodles for about 3 minutes in a separate saucepan. Drain when cooked.

Sauté the garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil until it becomes light brown and crispy. Set aside. Garlic is one of the secrets of a good mami noodle soup.

In the same pan, heat the remaining oil. Put the carrots and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the wombok. Season with salt or soy. Set aside.

I put all these cooked ingredients in separate bowls and my family just put whatever they want in their bowls. We were lucky to have bought calamansi from our Filipino store otherwise we could also use lemon. This is a recipe my kids are looking look forward to having next week again according to my daughter.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Blueberry Scones

I lied. I realized there are 9 ingredients. Sorry.

I buy blueberries in bulk during summer and freeze them for winter baking. According to my friend who is a pro in baking, blueberries should not be washed before freezing as washing make the berries go soggy. However, because I use the berries direct from the freezer to the flour mixture, I wash them first, take any dried leaves out and drain them for about an hour before I freezer bag them. If they are not so soft, I even try to shake the strainer to let water drain faster. Usually I put 2 cups in every freezer bag.

It is really easy and does not call for a lot of ingredients to keep your tummy happy. It doesn’t call for a lot of sugar too so we keep a jar of honey to add sweetness to it if need be. Usually, the fruits add sweetness to it already. I won’t be surprised if you won’t get it done perfectly the first time. It took my daughter about three tries to be able to come up with a presentable one. A few we learned: a.) minimize handling of the flour mixture when mixing. b.) always use a pastry cutter to mix c.)use cold butter or hard margarine d.)Dough tends to rise more in center so make center a bit thinner than ends.

What you need:

1 cup wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
refined sugar

Turn oven at 350 degrees.

Mix first five ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir to form a soft ball.

Lightly flour surface and knead mixture 8 times. Kneading it more than 8 will you’re your dough sticky. Should it get sticky, add a bit more flour. Mix the blueberries quickly making sure that the blueberries are spread thoroughly. I usually spread a bit more of flour on the surface, form a soft ball and roll ball to give it a drier outside when I cut the mixture into portions. Before cutting into portions, I press the ball to form a circle and cut it into 8 portions. Press each portion into a 7.5 x 12.5 cm lined baking pan or cookie sheet. Arrange portions at least an inch away from each other because they rise when baked.

I use parchment paper to avoid pastry from clinging unto the pan.
Beat the egg. Using a brush, brush each portion on its sides and top with the egg. Sprinkle with refined sugar. Shovel the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Note that you might have to bake it longer because the blueberries are frozen.

Beef with Broccoli

We have my cousin's daughter staying with us for a week just before classes start next week. As a 7 year old, she gets so bored easily. Because it was pouring rain yesterday afternoon, my daughter cannot take her to the library so they stayed home. My daughter tried to think of something exciting to do.

One of the lessons my daughter learned in her baby-sitting classes is to keep kids active and learn something in the process. Last night, she thought of preparing dinner instead. My niece is a fuzzy vegetable eater and she only wants broccoli. Not bad. This is something my teenager loves to prepare, quick and easy and she was not the one preparing the veggies but emphasized that she gave my niece the dullest knife just in case. I did the beef slicing and cooking. Oh, my daughter cooked the rice and set the table. On to cooking.


5 tbsp of soya sauce
dash of ground pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of lemon juice
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 lb thinly sliced lean beef
3 crowns of broccoli, sliced in bite sizes
1 medium onion, sliced in bite sizes
2 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in a cup of water
1 tbsp sesame oil

Mix first four ingredients to make a marinating sauce. Marinate beef for about 15 minutes with the marinating sauce. In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the beef until brown. Set aside including the juice extracted from cooking the beef. Save the marinating sauce left for seasoning.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, stir in the onions and cook for about half a minute. Add the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes, cover the pan but make sure that you stir it once in a while to avoid overcooking the vegetables on one side. If needed, add about 2 tbsp of water to keep the vegetables from drying. Add the beef including the juice set aside earlier and cook for a minute or until it boils. Pour in the cornstarch solution and the sesame oil. Keep stirring to spread the cornstarch solution consistently. Add more seasoning if you prefer.

I prefer my vegetables crunchy so I pay attention to the cooking time. Some want theirs cooked a bit. The choice is yours but the idea of how to cook it is there. My niece doesn't want hers soggy. Hope you'll like it.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Greek Salad

I am not in Greece, I've never been to Greece but this was my first salad outside the Philippines. Artichokes, olives and Feta cheese make this palatable. It is easy to prepare too. In summer, this goes well with any barbecue . Depending on my mood, I usually just bring the washed but unsliced veggies and all the other ingredients and do the preparation when we get to the park. However, my husband prefers it to be marinated a bit so I try to do it at home.

What you need:

3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp of olive oil
200 grams of feta cheese
3 medium sized roma tomatoes
2 pieces of field cucumbers
400 gms of olives
1 6 fl oz of marinated artichokes
1/2 of medium red onions
1 piece of green pepper

How to:

Just cut everything into bite size pieces, crumble the feta cheese and mix them all together in a big salad bowl. I put a little spice by adding about 50 gms of banana pepper rings. Some add mushrooms in theirs. I don't. Mushrooms have a distinct flavor that usually ruins the intended taste.

Well, I hope you'll have the chance of trying this before summer officially closes.

World-class Cuiscene

I have yet to change my blog name for the ..nth time. "Confections" of a Diabetic did not sound healthy and someone thought the recipes were just for diabetics. Funny! Okey, point taken. Thanks. How do you like it this time?

Why world cuiscene? No, make that world class cuiscene. I am a Filipino by birth but I enjoy trying other ethnic gourmet. You might find that the ingredients in some of my recipes will not be readily available in the Philippines. Hope you will find the rest of my recipes inviting though.

Acquired tastes are either influenced by our current location or by some travels we did in the past or will still do in the future. Join me and my family in our "gastronomic journey".

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Rocky Road

Note: The item in the picture is further divided into four for us. I do not eat that size just in one sitting or I'll be sick.

Funny how I will start my supposedly healthy foodblog but it first began with my falling in love with all things sweet. I was not a chocolate lover at first but because we have so many varieties of chocolates here from different countries, I slowly gave in to the temptation. Mind you, before I went for my 2 hour fasting glucose test, right after Christmas..can you imagine? Yes, right after Christmas, I managed to pump in about 1 Hazelnut flavored Lindt chocolate, a slab of Toblerone, and a boxful of Mint flavored After eights. Of course they came in free as Christmas gifts. The best things in life are free? Not for me I discovered because my sugar count was 7.8. Can you imagine how chocolates changed my life after that? Well, it was a complete deprivation of everything sweet, including pop and soda or softdrinks. One thing I found out was I had ”withdrawal symptoms” and when I had them, I binged.

This is when D said it doesn’t have to be that way. You are only human and of course you’re allowed sweets anytime. The beauty of having a counselor just when you needed her. Sigh!! so instead of me running to the store for chocolates I occasionally made myself a treat called Rocky Road. Unfortunately, when I decided to make my food blog, this was the one I had to make that particular night. What a way to start my blog huh? Here we go.

What you need:

1 bag of semi-sweet pure chocolate chips
1 bag of small marsmallows
1 cup of chunky peanut butter

How to do it:

1. Melt the bag of chocolate chips in a boiler
2. Add the peanut butter
3. Mix thoroughly chocolate and peanut butter. Let it cool but not so cool that the chocolate will be difficult to stir. Rule of thumb is cool enough not to melt the marsmallows
4. Stir in marshmallows
5. Spread a parchment paper in a baking pan depending on how thick you want your treat to be. I use the 8 x 8 to make an inch thick.
6. Pour in the mix.
7. Refrigerate for about 3 hours.

The parchment paper allows you to take the chocolate out of the baking pan without letting it stick to the bottom of the pan. I usually slice the big mass into slabs for craving days. I store them wrapped in cling wraps and put them in the freezer. They don’t stay long in normal temperature so it is best to eat them right from the freezer.

I used to count the number of wraps in the freezer but over time my kids knew better than eating them without my knowledge. They now know the meaning and significance of a “treat”. Lesson no. 1

Shrimps, Peas with Cashews

In younger days, eating out meant going to a Chinese Restaurant. Shrimps, Peas with Cashews was one of our favorites. We used to order two because one was not enough to go around the table. An order of course was very expensive because shrimps in the Philippines are expensive. We always saw the stares of whoever was paying for the meal on that night but we always seemed not to get the message or pretended we did not see those stares. It’s ironic how we remember those stares now that we're older and we have to pay for our meals.

When I was young, it seemed to be a very complicated recipe but as it turned out, this one is easy to make after all. I usually buy the shrimps when they go on sale and just shovel them in the freezer. They make good quick meals when needed.

What you need:

2 tbsp of olive oil
1 lb of shelled shrimps
2 pieces of carrots cut in small cubes
1 cup of sliced celery sliced into about ½ inch
1 cup of frozen green peas
400 gms of snow peas, cleaned at the edges
1 clove of minced garlic
salt to taste
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in a cup of water
½ cup of cashew nuts

How to cook it:

1. In a pan or wok, saute shrimps in 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 2 minutes, set aside
2. On the same pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and put carrots in, sauté for about ha1f a minute
3. Stir in celery and cook for about half a minute
4. Stir in green peas and cook for about another half a minute
5. Add in snow peas and shrimps and stir for a minute
6. Add salt to taste, sesame oil and add in cornstarch, keeping in mind tokeep stirring until the corn starch “solution” is cooked. Add the garlic.
7. Put in serving bowl and add over the cashew nuts.

When cooking this, it is always best served warm and crunchy that’s why every minute counts. You don’t want to overcook the vegetables, the snow peas most especially. You also do not want to cook the cashew nuts because you want the crunch out of it. You might want to adjust the cooking time because the elevation of your location also affects your cooking temperature.